Backyard Farming : The Life of Growing Vegetables & Raising Chickens


Backyard farming….it’s the vogue thing to do…right? That’s what I’ve heard anyway. I do know that I like being able to walk to the garden and pick ingredients for a salad and grilled corn, go to the chicken yard and grab some eggs, and snag a few grapes for a mid-cooking snack.

Living in the South, it’s almost always hot, and we keep something growing. It’s hard work, in the beginning, with the plowing of the land and the sowing of the seed, yadda, yadda, yadda….. Who cares, though…a week’s worth of work for months of juicy tomatoes and crisp cucumbers to make it all worthwhile?

This year… this year is special. This is the first time Donovan was able to really help pick out what he wanted to plant and exactly where in the garden those plants and seeds were to go. We had pickling cukes, grape tomatoes, zinnias and sunflowers galore, and weird squash popping up everywhere. Being 5, he leaned more toward what was pretty in the pack than what was suited to grow (and eat) but at around $1.35 a pack for a ton of seed, we sort of let him have his way.

Muscovy ducklings Oh, then there’s the best part…the chickens. We have two yards with Rhode Island Reds and a couple “banty” hens to sit our eggs when we don’t feel like breaking out the incubator. They’re great eggers, each one laying an egg just about every day. Even with our family of 6, we still give away eggs left and right. Donovan has been among chickens most of his life, and he’s not at all scared of the rooster that’s as tall as he is…thank goodness for his growth spurt. Donovan, not the chicken. That’s just weird. They’re calm, easy going and kind of affectionate if you raise them from wee chicks. Reds are an awesome breed for children simply because of their placid nature. Fresh water, shade, and food with grazing rights are all they ask for in return for some of the best tasting eggs in the world. Of course, the hubby gets irritated at all the animals Donovan and I seem to collect. When we married, I only had a tiny little Yorkshire terrier. Now I’m up to the yorky, 20 chickens, 2 ducks, 5 guinea fowl, and the occasional rabbit I have to rescue from my Mom’s crazy cat. Think he’ll fuss when I tell him Donovan wants a goat? One of those neat fainting kind. Yeah, that’s what “Donovan” wants…..



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